Rugby: Braid returns for Auckland

Daniel Braid will return after missing four games due to a groin injury. Photo / Getty Images
Daniel Braid will return after missing four games due to a groin injury. Photo / Getty Images

Auckland coach Wayne Pivac has made three changes to his team's starting line-up ahead of Wednesday night's ITM rugby match against Taranaki at Eden Park.

Andrew van der Heijden returns to the team after recovering from a shoulder injury and Angus Ta'avao and Dave Thomas have been promoted from the bench.

Flanker Daniel Braid will return from injury via the bench after missing the last four games with a groin injury.

"Daniel Braid and Andrew van der Heijden bring a lot of experience. They are part of our leadership group and while they have been playing their part behind the scenes they haven't been out on the field so it's good to have them back," Pivac said.

The Auckland team has reviewed Friday's 37-16 loss to Bay of Plenty and Pivac said several players were disappointed with their performances.

With a short turnaround against an undefeated Taranaki side, Pivac said Auckland needed to bounce back.

"Taranaki remind me of Auckland and Canterbury teams of old. They have the ability to carry the Ranfurly Shield and perform in games when it's not at stake as well. They're very strong up front and have a backline that complements their forward pack."

Auckland: Charles Piutau, Dave Thomas, Malakai Fekitoa, Hadleigh Parkes, George Moala, Gareth Anscombe, Alby Mathewson, Peter Saili, Sean Polwart, Steven Luatua, Liaki Moli, Andrew van der Heijden, Ofa Tu'ungafasi, Tom McCartney, Angus Ta'avao. Reserves: Nathan Vella, Pauliasi Manu, Nathan Hughes, Daniel Braid, Auvasa Faleali'i, Simon Hickey, Ben Lam

- APNZ

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